Natalie's Everyday Heroes: Wauwatosa Boy Scout troop celebrates 100th anniversary
WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Boy Scout Troop 21 in Wauwatosa just passed a major milestone. The troop celebrated its 100th anniversary this summer. Through the years, it has served the community in countless ways, and also taught hundreds of young men important life lessons.
"Color guard, advance and salute," called out senior patrol leader Luke Millmann at a recent troop meeting.
Being a Boy Scout is all about tradition.
"Color guard, post the colors," Millmann said.
It follows certain tenets.
"Scout oath and law," Millmann instructed, as the boys raised their hands.
Those are things Millmann has learned in his six-and-a-half years with Troop 21.
"Kind of as I got older, I gained more responsibility in the troop. So, I got into leadership roles," he said.
The 16-year-old is carrying on a tradition that is hard for him to fathom.
"Well, it's six times my lifetime, which is kind of crazy to think," he said with a laugh.
Boy Scouts have been meeting here at the Wauwatosa Avenue United Methodist Church for 100 years.
"We believe at this point, we're probably the oldest, consecutive troop in the council," said retired Scoutmaster Steve Weber.
Weber has been with the troop for 30 years. Assistant Scoutmaster Jeff Molter -- even longer.
"When I was 12 years old," Molter said of when he joined.
Since the troop has always met in the same place, the church is home to what they called the Scout Room.
"So the advantage of having this troop room is we have this huge archive of stuff," Weber said.
Outside the church, they had loaded up a trailer of artifacts in preparation for the troop's 100th anniversary celebration. It's a glimpse into the troop's past.
"This sign has always hung at all the campouts," Weber said, reading what it says. "The only rules in this camp are the scout oath and the scout law."
To celebrate all of that history, members have been pouring over the artifacts and keepsakes.
"This is the original troop flag from 1922," Weber said, unrolling the 100-year-old flag.
There are also more sentimental items.
"It's a large pot that we make cocoa in when scouts are in camp," Weber said, showing a well-loved white cocoa pot. "We retired this pot 10 years ago or more. But then threw it on the shelf because so many of our scouts are going to go 'oh my gosh, I drank cocoa out of that pot for, you know, years.'"
There are lots of old photos and even a uniform catalogue.
"Here's scout uniforms, that you can spend a dollar for a sweatshirt, $1.75 for a uniform shirt," Weber said.
It may not be the most organized collection.
"There's been just shelves and shelves of things that accumulated. It is the largest collection of dusty old equipment and gear that you ever saw in your life," Weber said with a laugh.
But it is 100 years-worth of memories showing what Troop 21 has always been about.
"We often times tell the boys, we're not really training you in outdoors, we're just using the outdoors to help you build understanding team work and confidence," Weber explained.
Skills that are just as important now as they were 100 years ago.
"Most troops don't last this long," said troop member Josh Williams.
The significance is not lost on the 15-year-old.
"Learning my own independence and really learning how to get stuff done on my own," he said of what he's learned.
The troop has been dedicated to community service and has produced 187 Eagle Scouts-- the highest achievement in scouting-- since it started in 1922. That includes Molter.
"I was an Eagle Scout. Earned that back in 1970," he said.
Millmann is now working towards becoming an Eagle Scout himself. It's a tradition of excellence.
"Color guard, retrieve the colors," Millmann instructed.
And it's now being carried out by Troop 21's next generation.
"Color guard, retire the colors," Millman said.
Troop 21 celebrated its 100th anniversary on Aug. 20 at Hart Park in Wauwatosa.
If you'd like to nominate an Everyday Hero, send Natalie a message at NShepherd@cbs58.com.